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Fullmetal Alchemist Volume 03: 06/08/11

cover art

I had been reading manga regularly back about five or six years ago but I lost the momentum. Part of my problem was I really didn't want to have to buy volume after volume for something I was reading so quickly and the old branch of the library didn't have enough shelf space to show off their collection. The library has since moved to a much larger location and I've found that mangas make the perfect quick reads for when I need a break from my library science homework.

I currently have six (at last count) manga series I'm following. The one though that has most of my attention is Fullmetal Alchemist by Hiromu Arakawa. At the time of writing this article I'm waiting for volume 20 to arrive to the holds shelf but by the time this review gets posted, I could very well be done with the series.

As I mentioned in the reviews of volumes 1 and 2, the pacing is intense. If you're like me and are coming to the manga by way of the first anime series, be prepared for those multi-episode arcs to be over in about a single volume or less. Much of the character building that was done in the first series was drawn from Arakawa's back of book extras.

By volume 3, the divergence between the manga and the first anime series really becomes apparent. Ed and Al go back home to get the automail fixed up by Winry. This is the series' introduction to Winry. It's also the longest flashback so far to how Ed and Al came to be in their current situation.

The journey home though under Major Armstrong's careful watch gives them their first new lead on the Philosopher's Stone when he recognizes a former State Alchemist now working as a country doctor.

The events though at the Central Library are in my mind the pivot point where the manga and the first anime series spin off to their separate directions.

It's a fun read. Very satisfying with a good mixture of mystery, adventure, magic and horror.

Five stars.

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